That is a very sick sunflower.
It’s sick because of “Grazon” or possibly “GrazonNext,” a popular herbicide glowingly recommended by the University of Florida for broadleaf weed control in pastures.
Here’s the deal: Grazon or other Aminopyralid-containing herbicides are sprayed on pastures because they don’t kill grasses, only plants such as horse nettle, pigweed and blackberries. Then after application, the cows, horses and other animals graze on the grass, ingesting the herbicide which passes undigested through their systems and into their manure.
The manure can be composted for a year or more and it will STILL kill your garden.
The picture above came from my friend Luzette, owner of Buffalo Girl Soaps. She came over to my booth at the Union Street Farmer’s Market in Gainesville last week and told me that she had no idea what was happening to her garden this year.
“Everything is all messed up for some reason. I added a lot of horse manure – we can get tons of it – and I planted like usual…”
“Grazon,” I replied. “Your garden has been poisoned.”
I hate this stuff. I utterly hate it. I lost a thousand dollars of plants a few years back and poisoned a decent amount of my young food forest, setting it back for years and whacking some of my trees. There’s an olive tree in my front yard that is shorter now than when I planted it.
It was poisoned by Grazon in a load of cow manure.
Grasses also take up the toxin, meaning that adding straw or hay to your compost is now no longer a good idea. Many, many fields are being sprayed.
AVOID ALL MANURE on your garden unless it’s produced by your own animals and they are not fed with hay from outside your property. All manure should now be considered potentially deadly to your garden (with the possible exception of Black Kow – I have yet to hear a bad report about them so I’m assuming they’re screening for Aminopyralids).
Here are some more pictures from Luzette’s ruined garden:
The cantaloupe plants, she reports, looked okay but the fruit were small and hard.
The peppers show the tell-tale leaf curling caused by Grazon damage:
And these beans are goners:
Even blackberry brambles are showing serious signs of damage:
In my book Compost Everything: The Good Guide to Extreme Composting, I dedicate quite a few words to this evil stuff. I don’t hesitate to call it Satanic, since it utterly perverts God’s design in nature.
I have no idea how to fight the poisoning of manure, which has traditionally been the mainstay fertilizer of organic gardeners, but I do want you to know that I won’t stop writing about it and trying to save as many of your gardens as I can.
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